t is a well-known fact that EU trade policy is a significant tool for development policy. Indeed, the EU has a long tradition of granting preferential access into its market for exports from developing countries. Ultimately, an increase in the exports of developing countries should result in a stimulus to their global economic activity and development.
However, it is not unusual to hear criticism of EU trade policy vis-à-vis the developing countries - calling into question its effectiveness in fully respecting the principle of policy coherence for development.
A major new study assessing the true economic benefits generated by the EU trade regimes towards developing countries has recently been carried out. The study report will be publically launched on 6 July 2015 by European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica and DG DEVCO Director General Fernando Frutuoso De Melo.
The study will be presented by two of its authors: Professor Van Biesebroek, a leading international scholar, and Dr. Tine Jeppesen from Copenhagen Economics (CE). The findings will then be debated by a panel of experts including Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, André Sapir, Professor at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management, and Debapriya Bhattacharya of the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Dhaka and Marc Vanheukelen, Director of Sustainable Development and Economic Partnership Agreements, DG Trade.
The study demonstrates that EU trade policy has had a positive impact in terms of policy coherence for development. Using advanced econometric techniques and large databases the study also leaves no doubt that trade preferences - such as the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) initiative - granted by the EU have significantly increased the exports and the economic diversification of developing countries and in particular of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Another interesting result from the study is that the full impact of preferences on exports has arisen within two years after the preferences were granted. Finally, the study also indicates that in part these exports had a measurable positive effect on poverty reduction.
Assessment of economic benefits generated by the EU Trade Regimes towards developing countries - Volume I
Export Performance and Poverty Reduction - Volume II
Key results annex